gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Zimbabwe battles increased school dropouts – The Zimbabwe Mail

Zimbabwe battles increased school dropouts

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During a dialogue on the Day of the African Child in Harare, concerns were raised about the increasing number of Zimbabwean children forced to abandon education due to various challenges, including poverty, which often leads to issues like drug abuse and early marriages.

Elvis Chitsungo, Executive Director of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (Ecozi), highlighted that despite there being 6,694,618 school-age children in Zimbabwe in 2021, only 3,986,891 were enrolled in school. This disparity indicates that over 2.7 million children were out of school that year, a figure likely to have increased in 2024.

Chitsungo emphasized that while Zimbabwe performs well in primary school enrolment, with nine out of ten children enrolled, enrolment rates drop significantly at the secondary level, particularly in rural areas.

Education Minister Torerai Moyo previously noted that approximately 50,000 pupils dropped out of school between 2021 and 2023, prompting efforts to pilot an early warning system to prevent further dropouts.

Chitsungo urged stakeholders, including the government, to uphold children’s right to education as guaranteed by the Amended Education Act (2020) and Section 75 of the Constitution. He stressed that education is crucial not only as a right but as a foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty and enabling children to contribute meaningfully to society.

Munetsi Muhwati, an education specialist from Care Zimbabwe, called for policymakers to develop inclusive education policies. He highlighted that a recent event coinciding with the Day of the African Child provided a platform for students to engage with parliamentary committee members, fostering dialogue on issues affecting their learning experiences.

The dialogue, facilitated by Ecozi in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Care Zimbabwe, and World Vision, aimed to address the multifaceted reasons behind school dropouts, including poverty, orphanhood, climate change, drug abuse, and the impacts of COVID-19.

Source – newsday